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Newsletter May 2012

Camera Releases, Gadget Reviews, Photography Articles and More…

I hope our Newsletter May 2012 finds you well and gearing up for a scorcher of a summer (yeah right)! Things have been mighty hectic round here as usual. We had one trip to London for a "walkabout" shoot and a superb trip to the Lakes with a bunch of the members from ATP Members.

We try and do one or two trips a year (all free apart from the accommodation and food) in differing parts of the UK. This trip, I have to say, was one of the best so far. More on that later…

So much seems to have happened this year and we are only just in May. We have the camera wars hotting up with a plethora of new releases. However, are the manufacturers introducing new technology without really testing it first in the race to beat their competitors? There have been a number of issues with various cameras lately including:

On top of that, I waited for years for the release of the Canon EOS 5D Mark III but ended up buying another 5D Mark II…why? See later.

Technology race

I feel that the major DSLR manufacturers are now incredibly determined to beat each other to the race for upgrade sales. Because of this, they have almost lost sight of why they got into this business in the first place. In the past, Nikon left the megapixel race in favour of image quality whilst Canon seemed to up the ante each time by introducing more and more pixels into their sensors.

Now there has been a definite switch as Canon held back at around 22 megapixels and lower whilst Nikon steam ahead up to 36 megapixels on their new D800. What gives?

More megapixels means larger files which means more storage space and processing power required. All ultimately adding to the cost of this already expensive hobby/business. I have all but given up this race and am now concentrating more on my actual photography techniques (shooting and processing). For me, I have right now, all the kit I need to produce the work I want. The 5D Mark II still shines as brightly as it ever did.

Sony on the rise?

What is interesting to see is the rise of Sony in the DSLR market. I have always been a big fan of Sony. I can see them stealing a huge chunk of the market share with their new mirrorless range of DSLR's. By all accounts, these produce top quality images.

More now than ever, I recommend that you buy a DSLR with features that you are happy with. Preferably a full framed DSLR) but spend your time and money on quality lenses…every time.

Try to break away from all the confusion when it comes to buying kit. Even with all the "noise" regarding new cameras, I would still recommend you look at the Canon EOS 5D Mark II or the Nikon D700. Two amazing cameras that do a brilliant job and which can now be picked up at bargain prices compared to their newer siblings.

Spend the difference on glass.

Ok, so in this Newsletter May 2012:

  • London Trip
  • Lakes Trip with ATP Members
  • Go Pro Underwater Housing Test
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    Go Pro Extension Rod
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    Nikon D3200
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    Canon EOS 5D Mark III
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    Video Course? Software, basic editing, time lapse, output and rendering video
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    Hyperfocal Distance - An Explanation
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    Nero Trigger Review - A Cool Gadget
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    Article - Shooting Corporate Headshots for Profit

London Calling

I recently re-visited London with an old student of mine. We decided to walk a similar route to one I had done before. However, this time shooting stock and looking closer at the details of this amazing town/City. Even though I had done this route before, I still found a completely different set of subject matter to shoot. I came away with some great stock images and also decided to shoot a lot more video stock this time too.

I have only uploaded around 20 images to 8 stock photography agencies so far but many have been accepted. Some are already selling with the biggest shock coming from a sale of a simple shot of the train timetable on the station platform. Also, a shot of the side of a London bus has sold at one agency and been rejected at another.

Do you want to learn more about stock photography and how to create a solid, residual and monthly income? Check out our extensive eBook or join ATP Members where we have the eBook online along with around 3.5 hours of training videos to accompany it.

Here is a short video of some of the photos and video clips from that trip:

London is a fantastic place to visit and photograph, the possibilities and things to shoot are virtually endless. We may well organise another trip there one day through the membership site so stay in touch.

ATP Members Do The Lakes (or 13 go mad in Cumbria)!

What can I say? An amazing weekend was had by all and all for a paltry £57.50 each for two days and two nights in Cumbria (plus petrol, food and drink). This is something I hope to continue to arrange for members in the UK. It really helps people with a common interest to bond, make new friendships and talk geeky stuff for a weekend.

Go Pro Hero HD 2 Underwater Housing

As you all know, I am a fan of the Go Pro cameras and in particular, the new Go Pro HD Hero 2. The image quality is pretty good for such a small camera and it has many cool features to play with. Some may say it is not a serious camera for the professional but I have used it as a B/C roll camera when filming a wedding with excellent results.

However, use it underwater and it is a serious let-down.

Go Pro Extension Pole

The same people that brought you the flat port housing above, also make a very handy extension rod. It can be used in conjunction with the underwater housing…or anything else you can think of.

Nikon D3200

Amongst all the Hoo-Hah of new professional DSLR releases this year, Nikon have also released a rather funky entry level camera. It is the Nikon D3200. The specs for this new camera to the prosumer level line up are quite impressive but I fear that all those pixels on such a small sensor may cause noise issues.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Unless you have been living under a rock with headphones on playing Motorhead continuously for the past few weeks, you will have learned that Canon released their new successor to the ever so popular 5D Mark II. Namely the 5D Mark III.

I waited years for this update and when details were first released I thought yep, I'm going to get me one of them! Then the price was announced…twice that of the Mark II. Halt! Then I saw some sample images. Not truly impressed and I am still waiting to get hold of a copy to see and review for myself.

Then came the video footage. "Remarkably soft" according to one well known and accomplished videographer. That is until you sharpen during post-processing...no thanks.

I am certain that in the "new race" to produce the finest low light DSLR's (rather than continuing the megapixel race), Canon have updated an already fantastic sensor with a low pass filter that simply blurs the noise. This issue has also apparently made its way over to the Nikon camp where the Nikon D4 is reported to be even worse during filming. What gives?

So, after a long wait and a short think, I decided to buy a second 5D Mark II body which I am completely happy with. I shot a wedding recently which was the first time I had ever shot a wedding with two identical cameras. Bliss! The results and final output of images are all exactly the same whereas in the past, there would be subtle differences.

Canon links

Video Training Course?

Now I know I am a professional photographer but if you have been following me for a while, you will know I am also very keen on video. Both in a personal and professional capacity. I've been heavily using pro grade video cameras and professional editing software for around 5 years now and have learnt quite a bit in that time.

In my opinion, there is a definite shift happening amongst photographers of all levels. That is whereby video is playing a larger part in their everyday lives. I myself now video parts of a wedding as well as shooting stills and use 4 different types and grades of video camera.

This led me to think that perhaps a course on the basics of shooting and editing video may be of interest to anyone in the UK? If so, perhaps you could complete the short survey below for me...either way.

This would cover things like shooting tips, basic editing, software, output and rendering. All of which would be useful if you were to add it to your wedding photography services for example. You can see a sample of some recent footage I shot at a wedding below using everything from a pro grade, broadcast video camera right down to a Go Pro Hero HD 2.

Unfortunately I was quite prominent in the footage from certain angles but this couldn't be helped on this occasion. All photos were "shopped" to remove any signs of video cameras. As this was a rather special dance, I wanted to (as well as the bride and groom) record it on video as well as taking a few snaps. I feel in this instance that the video outweighs the photographs although I still managed to capture some pretty cool still shots whilst filming.

Hyperfocal Distance

Hyper what mow?

This is a term that you may or may not have heard of but it plays a large part in most people's photography especially those who like to shoot landscapes but also for closer subjects such as group shots at a wedding. It is important to understand this term and what it means to you with regards to focus points and depth of field.

Nero Trigger Review

If it is made of black plastic, you can plug it in or add batteries and if it does cool stuff with flashing lights...I want one! This little box of tricks is no exception and I have one for review. If you want to capture stunning fast action photos that are normally virtually impossible to get, or if you simply want to have some fun, check out the new Nero Trigger below.

It's a really cool little photo-gadget: Nero Trigger Review

Shooting Corporate Headshots

A niche in photography that not many people latch onto is the corporate headshot. This can be a "nice little earner" if you get yourself established with a large company/corporation or two. Most if not all large companies need headshots for their websites, periodicals and marketing material these days and of course, people come and go so there is also some retainer work there as well as the odd "spin off" job.

Check out this article sent to us by Headshots in London and why not give it a go yourself: Shooting Corporate Headshots

Other News

Canon release DPP 3.11.26 (Digital Photo Professional). Changes include:

  • Now supports the following new lenses: EF24mm F2.8 IS USM, EF28mm F2.8 IS USM, EF24-70mm F2.8L II USM, EF500mm F4L IS II USM, EF600mm F4L IS II USM
  • Supports images taken with EOS 5D Mark III, EOS-1D X
  • The digital lens optimizer function has been added
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    The multiple image composition and HDR tools have been added
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    Fixed a phenomenon that the original image characteristics could not be obtained when processing RAW images of EOS 5D Mark III using Digital Photo Professional 3.11.10 which is bundled with EOS 5D Mark III
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    Fixes a malfunction that occurs when using the quick check tool to check a large volume of images

Well, all that leaves me to say is that I will try to get the next newsletter out a little quicker without such a gap. However, the wedding season is nearly upon us. I am slowing down the actual shooting of weddings this year to concentrate more on the site and teaching but weddings still take up a fair bit of my time (especially with all the video footage too).

Hope you enjoyed this newsletter and please pass it on to your friends by "liking" it on Facebook below. Maybe leave a comment!

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